As with any surgery, knee replacement surgery carries risks. For knee replacement surgery, these risks are low. They include:
- Blood clots in the leg vein or lungs
- Heart attack
- Nerve damage
Signs of infection
Although the risk of infection is low, notify your doctor immediately if you notice:
- Fever greater than 100 F (37.8 C)
- Shaking chills
- Drainage from the surgical site
- Increasing redness, tenderness, swelling and pain in the knee
An infected knee replacement usually requires surgery to remove the artificial parts and antibiotics to kill the bacteria. After the infection is cleared, another surgery is performed to install a new knee. Your chances of a good or excellent outcome that reduces pain and improves function lessen with each additional surgery.
Artificial knees can wear out
Another risk of knee replacement surgery is failure of the artificial joint. With daily use, even the strongest metal and plastic parts eventually wear out. Joint failure risk is higher if you stress the joint with high-impact activities or excessive weight.
Sept. 22, 2015
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- Medical Edge from Mayo Clinic. Robotic-Arm Assisted Knee Resurfacing. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2011. http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge/. Accessed Aug. 19, 2015.
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